Article Discussion: Interfaith Celebrities: Nate Silver, Another Bond, and Happy Endings

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November 13, 2012 at 4:00 am #8572


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November 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm #8601

Brian Silver

To Nate Bloom. I am Nate Silver’s father than can offer a couple of pieces of information about his background (I have access to a much longer genealogy, especially on Nate’s mother’s side).

Nate’s mother’s family is basically a mix of English-Welsh (Nate’s mother’s father’s line) and German (Nate’s mother’s mother’s line and Nate’s mother’s father’s line). No Scandinavian.

Nate’s maternal grandfather Robert Thrun was born in Eagle River, Wisconsin, of parents (surname Thrun) who were immigrants from Germany in the 1860’s. Robert Thrun was a graduate of University of Wisconsin and Harvard Law School, and was a lawyer in New York for most of his career.

Nate’s mother’s mother, Roberta Read Lewis Thrun , who earned a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree at Columbia University, was, as you have intimated, from a long line of distinguished scientists and doctors, and trace their roots in America to the 1630’s. In fact Nate has a forbear, Nathaniel Read, born in Sudbury, MA in 1702 — same first two names as Nate’s (Nathaniel Read Silver).

As you also intimate ,the line on Nate’s father’s side is less documented, but we are in process of trying to put more information together. As you know, I am a professor of political science at Michigan State University. My father, Alexander Silver, was an aerospace engineer, trained at UConn, and employed for most of his career at Garrett AiResearch (now Honeywell International). One of my father’s brothers (Nate’s great uncle), Leon T. Silver (age 87) is professor emeritus of geology at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and has had a very distinguished career including training the Apollo astronauts in field geology in preparation for their collecting rock samples on the surface of the Moon. (See Wikipedia article: Leon Silver.) Another brother (another great uncle of Nate’s), Caswell Silver, was also a geologist who worked mainly in oil exploration, but contributed some of his earnings to endowing a chair of geology at the University of New Mexico.

In my own family, there were 4 boys and 1 girl. One of my brothers (Jesse Silver) is employed as an artist and painter in animination and film in Hollywood/L.A. You can find him listed in the IMD. Another brother, Harold (Hal), was an assistant to the VP of Mary Kay Cosmetics, before ultimately succumbing to a long series of illnesses that followed from his military service in Vietnam.

My sister, Deanna Aileen Silver (married name Goldberg), works in the jewelry business in New York.

My brother Richard N. Silver is a physicist and mathematician, a Caltech graduate who worked for many years at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and was a prolific publisher of scientific papers. He now lives in San Francisco and works as a consultant in, of all things, signal processing. He truly tries to separate the signal from the noise.

I won’t go much further into the family line except to say that my father’s father Jacob Silver (Nate’s great grandfather) founded and owned an autobody shop in Waterbury, Connecticut. The shop is still there, with the same name, “Jake’s Auto Body,” but is no longer owned by members of my family.

This is probably more information than you can use for any purpose, but I just thought I’d fill things out a bit for your records.

Thank you for writing about Nate.

November 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm #8602

Brian Silver

To add a bit to my previous post about Nate’s family background (I’m sorry for typos in earlier posting):

Nate’s great grandfather on my father’s side of the family, Jacob Silver (originally Zuger), immigrated to America from Lutsk (Ukraine) about 100 years ago. His wife (my father’s mother), Bessie (Pesha) Silver (nee Kraemer), immigrated from Wilna (Vilnius). The other side of my family, my mother’s line, also immigrated from Eastern Europe, in my mother’s mother’s case from Pinsk (Minsk Gubernia), present-day Belarus.

So on my side of the family, Nate’s ancestors came to America about 100 years ago. On my wife’s side of the family, Nate’s ancestors first arrived in America about 380 years ago.

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